Published: January 23rd 2012January 22nd 2012
To keep matters simple I drove to Valparaiso, as Chile has like one road, the GPS has not been necessary and not been working very well but as we closed in on Valpo it started to work and thank God for that.
We had found some places in the Bible and written them as well but none answered. So we went to the first one on our list , it looked more like a dump than anything else and now we're talking crummy big time; the place in San Pedro was like a palace compared to this.
We asked the blokes at the hostel if there was another one close by, and yes, just around the corner. So we go there and get a nice spacious room with two french balconies and 3 m ceiling.
Valpo exploring time as soon as we've put our bags in our digs.
Valpo is/has : Dirty as anything, glass splinters all over. I've never seen anything like it. Tons of dogshit that makes the air a nice pungent affair and the dogs as well. Mad traffic. Lots of graffiti and I mean big time. It's not fun when you have to reverse downhill. I know
because I've done it and almost wet myself ;-). There are some hair pin bends that you have to to in a three point turn! Loads of houses that are crumbling and should have been torn down years ago. Street art in a big way, loads of murals. Very long staircases as to climb the mountain, Valpo is on a mountainside There's little flat land so basically everything is uphill and some of the streets are very steep something like 45 degrees or so.
But at dusk the dingy bits can't be seen anymore and the city is transformed into a magic place.
Loads of people everywhere coming out of the doors to their houses and sitting on the steps watching people go by and according to our landlord in the weekends the barbies and boom boxes are taken out on the street as well.
The next day we go to Vina del Mar the beach town next to Valpo. The beach is long and sandy and quite cool as the wind blows from the cold sea.
The beach is red flagged as it's quite steep and the waves are quite high. A few people dip themselves after the wave
has broken, the water is not any warmer here, mad Chileans indeed and N as well.
But they can keep it, tower blocks line the beach, palm trees would've been nicer.
A late lunch later we go home for some R&R and to wait for dusk.
A bit of walking watching houses everything from dingy to some very nice mansions, loads of little bars and restaurants, quite handy beacuse some liquid pleasure enhancer is nice every so often.
Loads of murals everywhere and we stop and look at all of them; some are shite and some very good.
Up and down around and up and down, the standard south American street grid does not apply in Valpo, it's more like alpine roads going where they can, following nature.
In the end we go home and have a couple of "Terremotos" earthquake drinks that are supposed to make your feet tremble.
They don't :-(.
But we had a little 3,2 tremble the other day, every thing moved about a bit, cool when it's safe. But problably not so much fun when it goes up the scale.
A lot of Chileans should watch their diet because they're a bit fat to put
it mildly, they walk around with coke bottles and it's not Zero or light but the real Macoy and the have a plate called "Chorillana" with is a mountain of chips covered by cut up sausage and then melted cheese on top and a big coke to with that.
Our tortured landlord, Joaquin, said the Chileans have it in their genes, to eat end get fat and that Chile is the only place in the world that has 3 litre coke bottles!!!
I sincerely believe there is a conspiration between hotel owners in Argie and Chile because why else are the bathrooms so small?
I'm talking about bath rooms where I can hardly close the door and sit on the throne or shower stalls so small that you can hardly lift your arms without hitting the walls.
I think they have a competition to see who can make the smallest bathroom and then put cameras in them and when they have their annual meeting of the" Small is funnier club" sit there and laugh their heads of watching the films.
"Smile you're in the shower"
This year they must laughed their heads off , clean off, when two statuesque tourists
Good for your legs
like N and me have toured around.
I think the shower in La Serena is the winner, there was no way you could lift your arms without touching the walls the shower was about 450 x 450 mm.
It must be nice for N to travel with me, not just because I'm a charming and loveable bloke, why then?
So people stare at me instead of her and they think as we're gringos they can comment at will, which they do.
The rudest ones get a very unexpected answer and look none too happy.
There are more photos below